Marketo’s CEO, Phil Fernandez, was one of the inaugural speakers for SLMA Radio, the Sales Lead Management Association’s (SLMA’s) weekly show bringing you the voice of industry leaders.  He talked about the changing roles of marketing and sales in today’s modern revenue cycle, and shared tips for how CMOs can change use marketing analytics to earn a seat at the revenue table. Here are some of the highlights, or you can listen to the entire show, “CEO Insights about Sales and Marketing“.

Sales and Marketing: a quick history

In the past, marketing was seen as the one organization that got a ‘pass’ when it came to measuring results, since they lacked the ability to talk in business terms (dollars and cents). However, in the post-Enron age, executives now expect every part of the business to talk with authority on investments, and how those investments are impacting business. The CMO and marketing executive that is unable to talk in precise terms about their investments, why they’re making them, and other marketing activities, is going to be an “extinct CMO.” The trouble is, talking about marketing analytics is hard. You don’t learn some of these metrics in business school, so being able to talk with authority can be quite difficult.

When it comes to Sales, we know that the lifeblood of this organization includes the forecast and getting numbers on the board. This can sometimes be the source of deep-seated frustration and misalignment between sales and marketing. In the past, sales has been a hyper-measurable function and marketing has traditionally not been.

Here at Marketo, we believe all of this is changing. Our mission is to transform these commonly held ideas: Marketing can think, act and be held accountable on revenue terms and dollar amounts, ultimately unlocking higher productivity between both organizations. We believe the sales force can be retrained in their thinking, and start to see marketing not as something that happens on one side of the wall, but rather, as a important part of the sales process, helping the team to get fully nurtured and sales-ready leads.

“Sales people are the ultimate entrepreneurs”… Traditionally, sales people were the ones who went out, tracked prospects and dragged them across the finish line. However, this world is changing because buying is changing. For example, nobody nowadays would go to buy a television without researching online or finding reviews though various social media channels to serve as third party validation. The buyer expects to have power in the buying process. And he does. The sales person now needs to support the needs of the informed buyer and respond to the buyer when he is ready to buy. Although it’s harder for salespeople to sell because buyers have now put up barriers,  the buyer leaves behind digital fingerprints of what they’re doing. With the ability to inform salespeople of the interesting behavior using lead scoring, Sales is now seeing that Marketing is the team that can give them strategic insights into which prospects are hot. With these abilities, sales starts to treat marketing as a trusted ally in the sales process.

The Numbers Game

Question: A CFO of a B2B company comes to you with a problem. They have to either cut 10% of their lead generation budget or 10% out of the sales budget, what should you do? What would you tell them?

Look at the numbers. It’s an inherently unlevel playing field in most companies today because it’s a numbers discussion.  And the same discussion that takes place in Marketing over and over again is how the marketing executive is unable to quantify these numbers the same way as sales. There is no right answer at any given company, but if you’re able to understand your cost per lead, your cost per win, cost for the selling expense, etc., then you can make a dispassionate decision. Look at the numbers and make a right decision based on those numbers.

There are tremendous opportunities for companies to get this right. If you have that commitment to tracking and monitoring for marketing then you can do financial modeling.

Marketo does this through something called lead scoring.  Lead scoring is all about giving the sales team the information they need to decide who they should spend their precious time with. It’s about taking a look at the footprints the buyers leave behind. It could be a web visit, clicking on an email, tweeting, etc. All behaviors can be given a value. And while that may take some judgment from sales and marketing, it helps them to decide what matters most and gives them the rich analytics to see which behaviors signal buying. Through lead scoring you can start to attribute propensity to buy based on lead score, and the people who are most likely to buy are filtered to the top. Essentially, lead scoring is a systematic process to understand who’s most likely to buy and a way to deliver this information in a consumable way to the sales people.

Growth Scenario

Question: Let’s say a company president of a B2B medical device company sees that sales are off by 20%. What is the best way to boost sales in 90 to 120 days?

It turns out that investments in marketing can often scale revenue better than investments in sales. For example:

  • Try to understand what lead investments are actually paying dividends and start to do more of what works and less that doesn’t.
  • Start to measure what works with a lead management system. In 30 days, that company can have insight into what efforts work best.
  • Move dollars to what works. Marketo gives the decision maker this data to make higher-quality decisions on where to spend their marketing dollars.
  • Focus on how to put numbers in context and make a methodology. Marketo focuses on helping people make sense of the numbers and makes it easy to guide the art of selling and art of marketing in the right direction.

You can listen to the entire recording of the Sales 2.0 radio program, and stay up to date with sales and marketing best practices by  subscribing to the Modern B2B sales Blog RSS feed or following Marketo on Twitter.